Telemedicine: Ultimate Guide to Setup Medical Practice
"You don't have to be GREAT to START but you have to start to be GREAT"
What you will learn from this read?
A Complete Step-by-Step guide that can enable you to start your own Telemedicine practice without quitting job.
Its valuable read for licensed physicians, MDs, DOs, nurse practitioners as well as medical school graduates passionate to explore their options to start a Telemedicine practice with minimum effort.
It will help you find all the necessary steps required to start your own Telemedicine Practice. Before going into details lets find out why Telemedicine is expanding so rapidly.
Telemedicine has provided a wonderful opportunity for physicians to connect with patients at lesser expense without hiring new staff, expanding the existing office space, or leasing a new one in a different location.
Especially it gives a chance to the physicians to see more patients without leaving their office or home location.
The below statistics are advocating that Telemedicine is the future of medical practice.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine or Telehealth is an interchangeable term that is used for the provision of distant health services.
Telemedicine is about attending patients remotely with help of HIPPA compliant software through audio or video call where the doctor and the patients are located at different locations.
The doctors communicate with patient through an audio or video device and ask him questions in order to get more understanding of the situation and the patient can explain his condition without leaving his location.
How is it beneficial?
Telemedicine has made survival easier for new startups as it’s an opportunity to build healthy revenue at lesser expense.
It can deliver care more efficiently for elders, kids as well patients with chronic conditions.
It is the best solution for underserved health care areas.
It also increases patient to physician communication which overall improves health.
Improved patient data sharing process, which enhances coordination among physician in order to diagnose reliably.
“ With the evolving Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on access to medical care, there is no better time to help physicians navigate and implement telemedicine into their practices and enhance their ability to care for patients. Through telemedicine, we can triage patients and help avoid unnecessary visits to health care settings, thereby reducing exposure to the COVID virus and helping to keep our front lines safe, ensuring they have the resources needed to take on this immense challenge. The tools and guidelines being created now are already helping many to use telemedicine and will continue to help define its role at this moment, and shape the future of physician practice.”
DR. RUSSELL LIBBY,
PEDIATRICIAN & BOARD MEMBER,
How Telemedicine Services are classified?
Currently, the Telemedicine services can be classified into three catagories.
First, where a patient and doctor interact with each other with the HIPPA-compliant software, this interaction can be audio or video through audio call or video call, it is called Interactive Medicine.
Second one is called Store and Forward, where one physician can forward patient’s information to another practitioner in another location.
For example, a primary care physician has obtained the basic information, has seen the patient in person, collected all required information along with results of the medical tests required to proper diagnosis.
After reviewing all this information the specialist can advise the treatment.
Third one is called Patient Monitoring services where the caregivers monitor a patient residing at their home and they check different data such as blood sugar or blood pressure with use of various Telemedicine devices.
Boring…., Yes I know, You already know what I expressed above however I just tried to give you ar refresher.
Now, it’s time to dive deep to know Each Single Step you need to accompolish in order to start your own Telemedicine Practice from Scratch.
Following are the steps you need to accomplish. You can also leave us a comment at the end if you need more information about any of the given step.
- Medical Board Certification (Optional)
- Medical Licensing
- Office Space & Address
- Bank Account
- Mal Practice Insurance (Optional)
- DEA Registration (Optional)
- Provider Enrollment or Medical Credentialing
- HIPPA Complaint Audio Video Software
- Medical Billing
- Practice Marketing & Re-Targeting
- Collaborative & Supervising Physician (Optional)
- The GOOD News
1. Medical Board Certification
Medical board certification is only required if you are a Nurse practitioner. You must get board certified from AANP or any other accredited agency.
The board certification is not mandatory for other specialties except for Nurse Practitioners.
2. Medical Licensing
To start your own practice in any state you will need a state medical license. You can get your state license from any licensing service agency.
You can also Contact Your State Medical Board directly to find out more.
The licensing processing can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months, sometime it can take even longer but on average it takes up-to three months only.
If you are not familiar with licensing process, you can get FREE ADVICE from our experienced team.
3. National Provider Identifier (NPI)
You can apply for your National Provider Identification Number online.
You can also contact us to apply for your NPI Free of cost as we do not charge anything for NPI setup.
To get your FREE NPI number just write us a message by filling the contact form given at right side of screen.
4. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
You can get your EIN from IRS right away by filing the online application.
Importantly, you have choice here as well, if you don’t want to get into tax neither you want to apply for EIN then you can use your social security number in order to enroll with insurances and that’s easy and quick option at the startup.
5. Office Space & Address
A lot of people don’t go for their own medical practice set up because they think that they would need an office but this concept is wrong.
Everyone does not need to set up an office to have a medical practice however having an office is an advantage if you want to do it on big scale but if you have just started and you are cost conscious then you don’t need to have it to start your own practice.
You can use your home address instead wherever its required.
The best part is that Telemedicine doesn’t require patients to visit physician location therefore you can use your home address for the sake of administrative tasks.
6. Business Bank Account
The next step is to have a business bank account. If you don’t have a tax ID from IRS then You can not open a bank account.
But You can have an individual bank account by using your social security number.
You can use your personal bank account to receive direct deposits from insurance companies as Medicare does not prefer to send checks.
Medicare prefer direct deposit or transfer money into your bank account.
This makes practice administration easier as you don’t need to allocate time to manage checks from insurances.
Most of the insurances require to set up a direct deposit facility.
Direct deposit setup also referred as EFT setup is beneficial as every time your claims are approved, you will get your money right into your bank account.
Our team can help you to Create EFT Setup.
7. Malpractice Insurance
There are many Malpractice Insurance providers. Some are cheaper and some expensive based on their offer.
The key consideration here is that you just need a policy which will get you eligible for all the insurances you are looking forward to Enroll or Credential with.
Average Malpractice liability limit every insurance needs is about USD 1 million to USD 3 million.
We can definitely help you to choose Malpractice provider depending upon your specialty.
For Nurse Practitioners, we always recommend Cmf Group, we can get your malpractice coverage in 30 minutes from Cmf group in case you find it difficult.
8. DEA Registration
You will need Drug Enforcement Administration number if you will prescribe any drugs falling under controlled substance regulations.
9. Provider Enrollment & Credentialing
Provider enrollment or credentialing can take from two to four months and I always recommend that you go with Medicare credentialing first because you can treat Medicare patients without having a malpractice insurance policy.
Therefore Credentialing with Medicare first help you save cost and generate revenue by treating patients.
Once you start making some extra money you can go for malpractice insurance and get-credential with other insurances.
Once you are credentialed with 15 to 20 insurances in your state. You would be listed on the websites of those payors as their In-network medical provider.
Therefore if you are a full time PCP insurances will assign you a panel of up to 400 patients and that’s all you need to generate healthy revenue to expand your own medical practice.
If you are not PCP and you are a specialist you still will be listed on the website of all the the insurances with-home you have credentialed yourself as a specialist provider furthermore PCPs of all these insurances will refer their patients to you if they require services in your specialty.
Therefore it’s worth getting enrolled with all those panels as it will definitely increase your patient volume.
Credentialing companies can charge you from $200 per payor per provider. Some companies also offer flat rate that you can enroll in any 8 to 10 payors for $1000 and 15 to 17 payors in around 2000 dollars.
So to maximize your chances to welcome more patients and to avoid saying NO to any patient because you don’t accept insurance $2,000 is not a bad deal.
Spending USD 2,000 for to get enrolled with 15 to 20 payors increases your patient volume to maximum.
Starting your practice is much better than working for someone because with the passage of time you brand will grow much faster than your monthly salary.
10. HIPPA Compliant Audio Video Software
Data protection and HIPPA compliance is a must for healthcare providers therefore you should be very careful about the source you connect with the patient.
My recommendation here is Hydreight.
11. Medical Billing
Once you start treating the patients you will need to have a medical biller to submit claims to insurances for reimbursement.
You can also outsource Medical billing as this will enable you to allocate more time and concentration on core activity.
Outsourcing medical billing enables you streamline your cash flows fast as the expertise of medical billing company will speed up claim processing along with minimum denial rates.
There are many companies who charge from 3 to 5 percent of the monthly collection of practice.
Some even charge a flat rate such as $500 for $10,000 collection and $5,000 for $100,000 collection.
12. Practice Marketing and Re-Targeting
Now it’s time to strategize your marketing.
Being a startup you can initiate your marketing campaign from social media.
You should create your business pages for Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest or on other platforms to inform your social connections about your Telemedicine practice.
Start sharing valuable tips, precautions or other related stuff to help people build healthy lifestyle in your specialty.
13. Collaborative & Supervising Physician
Nurse practitioners find it challenging to find a collaborative physician however the there are Twenty Two States where you don’t need collaborative physician at all, you can practice 100% independently if you are in any of those 22 States.
Furthermore, there are about 13 or 14 States where you just need an agreement with one of supervising physician that means the supervising position could be anywhere in the state but normally its recommended that collaborative physician should be in area of 30 miles of your practice area or of your home address.
In some States you need a supervising physician to be working with you at the same practice where you are working.
If you are in any of these States don’t think again to have your own practice without having supervising physician.
So if you are from those States where you need a collaborative physician, you can contact Rx-credentialing as they may help you to find one.
Collaborative physician doesn’t have to be present with you, you can practice independently.
All you need to have is an agreement saying that you have a supervising physician who reviews your chats from time to time to see that you are on right track.
If you are trying to open a practice in a state where they require supervising physician to be present at the same practice then better option is to find the supervising position who is also willing to start a practice as this will align the interest.
14. The Good News
Good news for you is that if you are working somewhere then you already have most of the requirements such as medical license, malpractice insurance, board certification, NPI, EIN, home or office address and a bank account.
Therefore, You can easily start your Telemedicine practice.
With the passage of time you will be able to conclude if your practice is growing, should you invest more in marketing and clarity of many more doubts you may have now.
Do share with us if you notice any missing part in Telemedicine practice journey or if you want more clarification on any given step.
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